Thanks to all of you who stopped by to give your opinion on which fabric you liked best for my library window! It's always fun to see what you think. All I have to say is that I'm glad I chose the blue & white, because most of you would've been very disappointed if I hadn't!
So, the panels are up & here they are. (Thank you to my handsome assistant for hanging yet another curtain rod! I promise I'll give you a break for a while!)
Anyway, I'm on the path to an bold & eclectic travel library. You'll be surprised to see what ends up in there. No, really-- it's a surprise because I have no idea myself. I'll just have to wait & see what I find in my treasure hunting. I never know what's going to be next.
But, meanwhile, I'm posting a simple how-to on making a basic drapery panel like these. Some of you are intimidated to try to make your own panels, but you should know that these are SO simple and if you can sew a straight line, you can do this.
Here's what to do:
Determine the length of fabric you'll need by measuring your window from where you want it to start at the top to where you want it to hit at the floor. This will be the finished length of your panel. Then, you'll need to add extra length to allow for a top & bottom hem. For instance, I usually allow for about a 4 1/2 inch hem on the bottom & 2 inches on the top. I almost always write out my plan on paper just to be sure I'm calculating it all correctly.
You'll also need a drapery lining for this type of panel. I always buy a very basic one in a light to medium weight in ivory.
When you're ready to cut the fabric, try to find some floor space large enough to lay the fabric out smooth & flat. Making the first cut is definitely the most nerve-wracking part, so my best advice is to measure it out, double-check your measurements, then say a prayer that you haven't made a mistake. This method usually works great.
I personally prefer to cut the lining a few inches shorter than the length of the fabric because it makes it just a little easier to work with later. You also need to measure the width of both your fabric & liner & then make the necessary cut to make the liner width approximately 3 inches less than the fabric width. (A quick way to make this cut is to fold the liner in half a few times, making sure the edges are very straight, then measure & cut.)
This will allow the fabric to fold around the edges of the finished panel, giving it a professional look. Here's how it looks on the finished panel:
Once the fabric & liner is cut, simply line up the edges of each with the right sides together, & sew. I recommend a half inch seam allowance. You can pin the sides in place first if it makes you feel more comfortable. Also, I like to line up the liner about a half inch lower than the top edge of the fabric.
Once the two sides are sewn up, turn the panel inside out & press! Remember the main fabric will wrap around the sides about an inch or so, so press accordingly.
Lastly, you'll need to hem the top & bottom edges. For the top, first fold the fabric over a half inch, then press. Then, fold it over again about 1.5 inches, press, then sew.
Before you sew the bottom hem, you may want to re-measure your space to determine the exact length you want the panel to be, keeping in mind how you want the bottom of the panel to hit the floor. Some people prefer to hang the panel up with the rings & rod & then decide where to hem.
Once you know for sure how much you need to hem, fold over a half inch & press, then fold over the remaining length of hem you need to get your desired panel length. I like to fold the ends of the bottom hem in at an angle to get a professional finish. Then sew the hem!
After that, you're ready to add your clip rings & hang.
I hope this makes sense & gives you the confidence you need to try to make your own. And of course if you have questions or if any of the instructions aren't clear, just leave a comment or email & I'll try to help.
Now, cover those windows!
Sharing this little how-to with a few of these people.